20 Jan 2021

Gianluca Brunori: “The newly published ‘Resilience and Transformation’ report will influence the future of European policies and funding related to the agricultural and food sector”

*The article originally published on the website of the University of Pisa (in Italian) has been translated into English, edited and republished here to increase coverage.

Chairing the EU’s Standing Committee for Agricultural Research, professor Gianluca Brunori (Department of Agricultural, Food and Environment, University of Pisa) together with an international group of experts* developed new European guidelines for the reform of food and agricultural systems. In December 2020, these guidelines were published in the form of the report ‘Resilience and Transformation’.


“During 2020, we all have seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has created a “perfect storm “of global food problems – explains Gianluca Brunori – just imagine that after the initial local disruptons in food supply chains, prices have started to rise, from 2 5% in Europe for key products, up to 15% in Argentina and almost 20% in some locations in Southeast Asia.”

According to the European experts, the pandemic has exacerbated the challenges that food systems were already facing, from providing food security and nutrition for a growing global population to social inequality and agricultural practices with high carbon emissions. The report details what needs to change in the long term if we are to “rebuild better” – both from food production and consumption perspectives.

Based on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 11 targets have been identified in relation to food and agriculture. They are  manifested in, for example, the following measures (all by 2030):

  • radical reduction of pesticides (by 75%), fertilizers (by about 80%) and greenhouse gases (by 81%),
  • restoration of biodiversity to the levels of 2000,
  • restoration of degraded ecosystems on 2/3 of the European agricultural area,
  • keeping water consumption under the current level,
  • healthy and sustainable diets for the entire population,
  • adequate income for all farmers,
  • advanced standards of animal welfare,
  • gender equality in agriculture,
  • and 100% broadband coverage of rural areas.

“We have reached a consensus on very ambitious objectives, which should not be taken for granted – concludes Brunori – the report further shared with all EU Member States, is destined to significantly influence the Horizon Europe work programme as well as all national and co-financed programmes related to the agricultural and food sector.”

*The 5th SCAR Foresight Exercise Expert Group members who produced the ‘Resilience and Transformation’ report: Gianluca Brunori, Richard L. Hudson (Rapporteur), Andràs Baldí (Hungary), Stefano Bisoffi (Italy), Kerstin Cuhls (Germany), Johanna Kohl (Finland), Sébastien Treyer (France), Lilia Ahrné (Denmark), Jessica Aschemann Witzel (Denmark), Fabrice De Clerck (France), Jessica Duncan (Netherlands), Henning Otte Hansen (Denmark) , Begoña Ruiz (Spain), and Grzegorz Siebielec (Poland).